At last week’s Socitm Annual Conference in Manchester I presented a breakout out session on the hidden benefits of a mobile strategy. Part of the presentation focused on 7 key words which I believe are important when creating one, so here I'm going to expand on each of them.
When you’re reviewing which business processes to mobilise, take the opportunity to review the entire process, don’t just automate what you already have.
I recently worked with a Local Authority which wanted to use mobiles to capture time. During the review of its existing paper based process, it realised that it had a five-step approval process for approving overtime. In conjunction with implementing the mobile timesheets solution it then took the opportunity to review the entire process and reduce it to a single step. Consequentially, the Local Authority realised significant improvements in data quality and overtime payment accuracy.
An effective mobile strategy can have a positive impact on your ‘green’ agenda and your CO2 impact. Just think about the number of back and forth trips to and from the office. Rather than coming into the office to collect their case notes, social workers can travel direct to their first appointment. Or housing repairs operatives can have their entire work schedule delivered to their mobile overnight, negating the need to travel to the depot first.
If your mobile strategy is effective out on the field, you’ll have less staff who actually need to return to the office. This could present the opportunity to adjust your hot desk to employee ratio. A typical average for hot desking is 5:1, so just think about what benefits this might deliver if you could increase it to 7:1. And if your employees have the information they require available on their mobile devices, surely this presents a further opportunity to remove filing cabinets and consolidate office space.
When implementing a Mobile strategy think about the dead time you could eradicate. Bluefin Solutions recently implemented a mobile expenses capture solution at a major financial services organisation. The client wanted employees to use travel time as the period in which to submit their expenses. This turned unproductive time into productive time, whilst also eliminating the ongoing expense submission balloon.
The economic downturn and the continuation of the austerity agenda, means that Local Authorities need to be more radical in their thinking and become more local. There is a need to review new ways of working that are relevant to employees, citizens and partner organisations. Mobile solutions are perhaps one of the most cost effective ways of enabling collaboration.
With the proliferation of mobile devices (phones and tablets) and their accompanying app stores, consumers have higher expectations around how easy an app should be to use. It is therefore very important that Local Authorities get the user experience right. The more intuitive and simpler it is to use, the the more people will use it. If your app can help people access the information they need to do their job better, they’ll get a far greater sense of satisfaction from a job well done.
Let’s squash the thought that mobile solutions have to be costly. They don’t. And in fact, they can be self-financing. Years ago I worked with TVL Licencing to introduce a mobile solution; it saved a tonne of paper per-year per-Visiting Officer, as well as the associated postage costs. It also dramatically reduced the number of calls to its call centre. There are dozens of applications that can take advantage of a mobile approach and deliver significant savings.
There’s no doubt that mobile working is going to be critical for Local Authorities as they face head on the challenges of dwindling budgets with the need to continue to deliver critical services. Using these 7 words will help you structure your thinking and ensure you have a mobile strategy that addresses this dilemma.